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Inside Iowa State
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March 17, 2003

P&S Council requests electronic database of job descriptions

by Anne Krapfl
Generic descriptions for all job titles in the Professional and Scientific system, in addition to employee-specific PIQs (Position Information Questionnaire) should be put in an online database, according to a resolution approved March 6 by the P&S Council. The resolution "urges" the vice president for business and finance to make this project a priority and provide funding to Human Resource Services (HR) to create the documents and database within two years.

The council defeated an amendment to the resolution that would have specified that the database be "publicly accessible."

The council's compensation and benefits committee submitted the resolution. Committee members said an electronic database would be useful to the council, P&S managers and all P&S employees, especially in studying reclassification possibilities. It also would make HR staff more efficient and more helpful when they receive requests for such public information.

Council members noted that this effort has been in progress for nearly 10 years, but that just four of 440 generic job descriptions are available electronically. Every P&S employee has a PIQ; ISU classification specialist Carrie Haefner said HR has paper copies of at least half, but not all of them.

The resolution also asks vice president for business and finance Warren Madden to respond to the council by April 2, indicating whether and how he can meet the request to create both the needed documents and an electronic database of them.

Future plans for the ISU Cemetery
The council also approved a resolution regarding the future of the ISU Cemetery. The council doesn't offer a singular recommendation, but instead encourages P&S employees to study the issue on their own and send individual recommendations, by letter or e-mail, to the vice president for business and finance. At its current use rate, the cemetery will run out of space in five to 10 years. ISU leaders are seeking input on what to do in the future: stay in the cemetery business and make more land available for interments, get out of the cemetery business when the current cemetery is full, or some option in between?

Mileage reimbursement rate
In other business, council members discussed increasing the mileage reimbursement rate for university employees who use their own vehicles for work. Most who request mileage reimbursement are Extension staff around the state, and most of them are P&S staff. The current ISU rate is 31 cents per mile, set several years ago when the IRS reimbursement rate also was 31 cents. The current IRS standard is 36 cents per mile. Council member and Extension field specialist Tim Eggers said Extension employees currently are working within Extension administration to request a rate increase to 36 cents.

Eggers said Extension field staff and county directors put an average of 10,000 miles a year on their personal vehicles while conducting business for Iowa State. But he said the range is 4,000 miles to 27,000 miles, for a total of 1.3 million miles a year. He estimated that a reimbursement rate of 36 cents would cost the university an additional $67,000 per year.

The council's next meeting begins at 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 2, in the Memorial Union Pioneer Room. ISU athletic director Bruce Van De Velde will speak at the noon open forum in the same location.

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